When Robinson Santos walked into a New York City immigration office to get his permanent residence card in 2012, an official discovered that someone with a similar name and same birthday was wanted for sexual assault by the Enfield police. The official sent Santos' photo to the Enfield (Conn.) Police Department, where an officer quickly determined he was not the fugitive.
But when Santos returned to immigration offices last February, his name again set off alarms and a call to Enfield. This time, the police didn't ask for a photo and instead told immigration officials that Santos was their man, reports the Hartford Courant.
Santos spent three weeks in jail awaiting extradition to Connecticut before the mistake was discovered. Now, the Bronx man is charging in a federal lawsuit that Enfield police violated his civil rights.
Santos, 39, has the same birthdate as the fugitive, identified in the lawsuit as Robinson Santos Colon. When immigration officials called Enfield in February, they spoke with a detective who asked them to hold Santos and turn him over to New York City police to be extradited, the suit states. He never requested a photo nor did he check department records that might have indicated that Robinson Santos was not the fugitive, the lawsuit states.